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Young designers exhibit the quiet, sustainable rally cars of the future during ‘Rally Sweden’

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For over half a century, the rumbling engines have been the beating heart of rally. Is the accelerating electric revolution about to throw the sport into an identity crisis? During 'Rally Sweden', students at UID presented the next generation of silent, sustainable rally cars, created in clay.

When 'Rally Sweden' descended upon Umeå on February 24, the sound of the roaring engines reverberated across the West Bothnian forests, from Kroksjö to Örträsk. Those days are soon over. Tomorrow's rally cars will likely be driven with the quieter electric motors. Students from the Master's Programme in Transportation Design at UID were challenged to take the rally sport into a new era, with a focus on sustainability, safety and the visual experience.

In a showroom at Utopia Shopping in central Umeå, visitors got a glimpse of a futuristic and positive vision of tomorrow's sustainable electric rally series. The design concepts strive to give rally fans a stronger visual overall experience, in the absence of the roaring petrol engines. The students' artistic ambitions have centered around capturing the essence of the state-ot-the-art electric machinery in order to design the vehicle exteriors to reflect the new technology.

"An important goal has been to communicate the technological advances that the new drivelines in EV rally cars entail. There are so many work hours behind the creation of an engine concept for a rally car and you really want it to be visible on the outside as well, says Lotta Quist, supervisor during the project and design consultant at Knightec.

 

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During 'Rally Sweden', students from UID were challenged to take the sport into a new era, with a focus on sustainability, safety and the visual experience.  Image: Jonas Sandström

The exhibition 'Group Be Electric' got its name from the mythical Group B era in the 1980s when International Automobile Federation (FIA) eased regulations and the rally cars were allowed to pack over 600 horsepower. Many enthusiasts still label it the golden era of rallying, but a series of tragic accidents forced FIA ​​to close down the racing class in 1986.

The sport of rally is expected to experience a new dawn due to the revolutionary technological shift towards electrification. The lightness of the new technology gives designers more freedom when forming the cars' exterior compared to the traditional internal combustion engines. The students at Umeå Insitute of Design have seized the opportunity and sculpted challenging shapes that benefit from the flexibility of packing an electric driveline.

DSC 0052In a showroom at Utopia Shopping in central Umeå, visitors got a glimpse of a futuristic and positive vision of tomorrow's sustainable electric rally series. Image:  Elin Lundgren

"In contrast to today's rally cars, which are based on the appearance of production cars, the students here created a design language that is intended for competitive racing in the first place, with the opportunity to influence the look of production cars going forward. So, the dynamic is reversed from today. The goal here was to create continued spectacular experiences for the audience, where the design of the vehicles and the brands' opportunities to create unique expressions will be an important component for success in tomorrow's sustainable motorsport ", says Jonas Sandström, Programme Director for the Master's Programme in Transportation Design.

Quick Facts 

´Group Be Electric´ is the result of a design exercise where transportation design students at the School of Design at Umeå Insitute of Design transform 2D sketches into 3D form, in clay. In the course, students also learn the basics of vehicle construction and vehicle history. The project runs over 5 weeks and the students belong to TD1, the first academic year of two in the MFA Transportation Design Programme.